Angels that won’t return in 2021: Andrelton Simmons, SS
One of the first moves that Billy Eppler made upon joining the Angels was landing a cost-controlled shortstop in his prime. In doing so, he cemented the position for the next five seasons for the Angels and gave them the best fielder in the game for half a decade.
Looking back at that deal, it turned into a huge bargain for the Angels. They sent Erick Aybar, Chris Ellis, Sean Newcomb, and cash to the Braves for Andrelton Simmons and Jose Briceno. Newcomb, a rising prospect at the top, was seen as the center-piece going back to Atlanta.
While the left-hander never amounted to much for the Braves, Simmons found a groove in Anaheim. In additional to his already stellar defense, he also found an offensive rhythm, allowing him to become less of a liability with the bat and approach/exceed average value on the offensive side of the ball.
Over his first three seasons in Anaheim, Simmons accrued 13.1 fWAR, a wRC+ of 101, and averaged .284/.331/.404 at the plate.
Unfortunately, injuries played a huge role in his production over the next two seasons. Out of a possible 222 games, Simmons would appear in just 133 games over the 2019 and 2020 campaigns due to two ankle injuries. In that time, his production dipped at the plate to .271/.318/.362 with an 85 wRC+ and a 2.4 fWAR.
While that won’t necessarily spell the end to Simmons’ time with the Angels, his actions earlier this week, where he opted out of the remainder of the 2020 season, may indicate that the team and Simmons are mutually going in different directions.